I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
So whose story was I following, then? Which reading of the world had produced the list of 195 sovereign states - with its single addition of Kosovo to the list of UN-recognised nations - that I was using as the basis for my project? where did it come from, this strange register of country names, so ubiquitous that, in spite of all my research into the fraught question of nationhood, I had blithely taken as universal yardstick?
I retraced my virtual steps. [...] So categorical and universal did [the list] appear to be, that it was almost as though some independent, pan-global body had debated the issues and reached an official consensus, placing it on a par with such universal truths as death, or toast always landing butter-side-down.
And then in amongst the landslide of parroted and regurgitated information, [...], I found an innocuous-looking list of 'Independent States in the World' on the US government website. [...] The truth hit me: despite all my efforts to establish an objective list of countries at the start of the year, I had succumbed to that most twenty-first century of maladies, data infecta. [...] I had been reading the American world all along.
Oh give me a damn break. Because you used a list whose source came from an American government website all the foreign literature you've read so far (6 months worth according to the author) is now infected and somehow less foreign? Less meaningful? As an American I've always been aware of our influence to a degree, but I have to admit I had no idea that by just compiling a list of Independent nations we immediately voided the legitimacy of said nations. Who knew that simply publishing a list was all you needed to own the world? Impressive.
My sarcasm sounds less imperialistic and her dismay even sillier ("After the initial phase of fist-biting and forehead-slapping over my own stupidity subsided, I started to think about what to do."), when you read her solution to this "problem":
After a couple of sleepless nights, and a weekend in which not much was consumed other than my own fingernails as I sat squinting at a range of involved and contradictory articles about sovereignty around the world, the solution came to me.
[...] my new yardstick was to be UN recognition.
The result of this world changing decision?
[...] then shifting from an American to a global perspective could simply be a matter of bringing in Palestine to replace the only country on the list of 196 with no degree of UN recognition at any time in its history: Kosovo.
Wow. Glad you got that sorted out and your conscience can rest easier knowing that your project was sanitised of the American world view by the simple expedient of swapping Kosovo for Palestine. While I'm sure Palestinians are relieved at your recognition, I'm guessing Kosovo is less than thrilled.
First world tempest in a tea-pot.